Following this week of worthy Reddit comments, today I bring you a comment in a thread about some user asking what he should do with the money. From all answers, the following stood out:
There are a discouraging number of posts here that all boil down to the same thing: “Enjoy yourself and never work again.” Clearly, you’re beginning to realize that this is an unsatisfying answer, otherwise you wouldn’t be posting this.
Above a certain level, money becomes an abstraction. That level is variable; depending on one’s wants and needs, it could be just above subsistence. For you, it’s clearly less than $20m. Anyone who impulse-buys off of Amazon has more money than they need.
But you already knew that.
You also seem like a nice guy, and you seem young (judging from your discussion of kids in the semi-hypothetical; if you have any, they aren’t of an age to talk back to you yet). Not only that, you seem deeply bored. This is not surprising considering that by the goalposts of the modern rat race, you’ve long since won.
A friend of mine is a social worker who counts among her clients any number of Micro$oft Millionaires. The kids who worked like hell until they were 26, then cashed in their stock options and now basically drift around playing Nintendo DS and wondering what to do with their money. I wholeheartedly recommend you not become one of them as their lives are utterly devoid of fulfillment. Above a certain level money is just an abstraction and you cannot live for an abstraction.
So please consider this:
You have, at your ready disposal, the equivalent fortunes of everyone else commenting on this page. Most of them cannot see beyond their own immediate problems. It is therefore your burden to see beyond yours… for all of our sakes.
Investors and venture capitalists do not think in terms of “money.” They think in terms of “leverage.” $20m is a substantial amount of liquidity; it is not, however, enough to really change things. You have a demonstrable gift for turning small ideas into big ideas.
You are Superman.
You have an obligation to every kid dying under student loans to do something with that money. I don’t mean spend it; I mean multiply it. What would Warren Buffet do with $20m? He’d turn it into $40m. What would Bill Gates do with $20m? He’d turn it into $30m and try to cure malaria while he’s at it. You clearly have these leanings. Do not ignore them.
There is a long life ahead of you. I suggest you ask your 80-year-old self: “Aren’t you glad I invested in X?” I suggest you ask your hypothetical great-grandchildren: “Are you proud of me for supporting Y?” Ask the hypothetical manager of your endowment fund: “What are the greatest accomplishments of the M13cluster Fund over the past 40 years?”
So very, very many of us will have little legacy beyond our children. You are not like us.
Make us proud. Be the change that we cannot.